In an article highlighting what he believes to be an unfinished off-season thus far David O’Brien noted that the Braves have at-least $7 million left in their budget, which matches up with what everyone has been saying following the trades of Rafael Soriano and Javier Vazquez.
O’Brien, like many Brave bloggers, kept the name Xavier Nady in the mix as an option to play the corner outfield and first base. He also threw in the name of Marlins second basemen Dan Uggla whom the Braves had been linked to earlier on this winter.
The speculation of O’Brien is that the Braves could flip Melky Cabrera to the Marlins in exchange for Uggla.
Uggla is a massive upgrade over Cabrera as the track records of the two suggest, he also would eat away most of the remaining money left in the Braves budget but would in essence finish off the roster.
Most teams would find it difficult to trade away Uggla (.243/.354/.459, 31 HR, 90 RBI) but the Marlins are trying to shed some money themselves and at the end of the season there was even speculation that the team would non-tender him to avoid his contract.
Aside from the financial standpoint there are other reasons the Marlins could trade Uggla. The Marlins see Uggla as a bit of a defensive liability, he had a rift during the season with star Hanley Ramirez and the team does have Chris Coghlan on the roster. Coghlan was the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year after he hit an impressive .321/.390/.460. While Coghlan played just one game at second base in 2009, he spent 246 of his 288 minor league games at the position and is seen as an upgrade over Uggla. So in other words the Marlins already have a replacement for Uggla on their big league roster.
The Braves though would have to decide what to do with Martin Prado. Prado appeared in 63 games at second base last season, but also appeared at three other positions. It’s also unclear if the Braves like Prado at second base or as a versatile infield option who would provide Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus days off in addition to Uggla.
I didn’t mix any words after the Braves traded Vazquez to the Yankees for Cabrera and prospects. Obviously if the Braves are able to land Uggla or another accomplished slugger (for Cabrera) it takes away the sting of that trade. Of course this is all speculation on my part at this point.